Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1996
Bordeaux Red Blends from Pauillac, Bordeaux, France
1996 gave us a rich, dense, well balanced and extremely complex wine. Some tasters are very positive and think the 96 vintage shows the elegance of 1953, and the power of 1959: what a good perspective for this vintage which promises a very long keep.
The Wine Advocate - "Tasted three times since bottling, the 1996 Lafite-Rothschild is unquestionably this renowned estate's greatest wine. As I indicated last year, only 38% of the crop was deemed grand enough to be put into the final blend, which is atypically high in Cabernet Sauvignon (83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot). This massive wine may be the biggest, largest-scaled Lafite I have ever tasted. It will require many years to come around, so I suspect all of us past the age of fifty might want to give serious consideration as to whether we should be laying away multiple cases of this wine. It is also the first Lafite-Rothschild to be put into a new engraved bottle (designed to prevent fraudulent imitations). The wine exhibits a thick-looking, ruby/purple color, and a knock-out nose of lead pencil, minerals, flowers, and black currant scents. Extremely powerful and full-bodied, with remarkable complexity for such a young wine, this huge Lafite is oozing with extract and richness, yet has managed to preserve its quintessentially elegant personality. This wine is even richer than it was prior to bottling. It should unquestionably last for 40-50 years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2050. The wine of the vintage?"
Wine Spectator - "Gorgeous aromas of currant, berries and licorice. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a long, caressing finish. Still holding back. People talk about this as one of the greatest Lafites ever, but I don't think so."
International Wine Cellar - "Full, deep ruby, by far the darkest of these vintages. Knockout nose of great precision: cassis, black cherry, lead pencil, licorice, dried herbs and mint. Densely packed and extremely unevolved; a powerfully structured wine with uncanny precision and penetration. Finishes with powerful, firm tannins and exceptional mounting persistence. An infant, but a great Northern Medoc '96 in the making. Drink 2015 to 2040.
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Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Winery
Château Lafite-Rothschild is perhaps the most famous wine label in the world. The estate achieved wide popularity in the 1750s when it became the favorite wine of King Louis XV. Thomas Jefferson was also a steadfast customer and even visited the estate.
In 1868, Baron James de Rothschild became the owner of Lafite. He was a born dilettante, and it suited him to be the master of what, in 1855, was classified as first among the great wines of Médoc. Today, Baron Eric de Rothschild presides over this most famous Bordeaux estate. View all Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Wines
About PauillacView a map of Pauillac wineries (pouy-YACK)
Home to three premier cru (first growth) chateaux, Pauillac is a leader in quality Bordeaux. Chateaux Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild are situated within the Pauillac appellation. Sandwiched between St.-Estèphe and St.-Julien, Pauillac wines are big - known for their combination of elegance and power.
Notable FactsThe gravel-based soils of Pauillac are key in creating the structured wines produced there. Like most of Bordeaux's left bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading grape. Some typical descriptions of wine from Pauillac include: concentrated, full-bodied, powerful, firm tannins, ability to mature. Not all of the Pauillac wines are top price collectibles that you can only find at auctions. There are great values in the lower level crus, like the fifth growth, Chateau Lynch-Bages, as well as great Cru Bourgeois such as Chateau Pibran. These wines are more affordable and often mature a bit sooner.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.